Our team

A COLLECTION OF EXPERIENCE, EDUCATION, AND TALENT & SKILL

Brianne Teevan-Bongiovanni, Founder & Head of School

Ciao Amici and Families!  My name is Brianne Teevan-Bongiovanni- I am the Head of School and Founder of Bambini Creativi.  I have had an interesting journey prior to conceptualizing, designing, owning and operating an independent private preschool and elementary! From a young age I sought out opportunities in entrepreneurial endeavors and artistic expression, and always had a willingness to take on any of life’s challenges. My educational experience includes studying Fine Arts at the Kansas City Art Institute, and Early Childhood education at the Francis Institute and the University of Kansas. Let's just say I crafted the educational experience that I had wished for. I also auditioned and made it into Chicago’s famous Second City Conservatory where I graduated and studied acting and the art of improvisation. While living in Chicago, I was able to unify all of my talents to work my way up at Chicago Children’s Museum, where I eventually became the museum’s Early Learning Lead Educator and Exhibit/Program Designer. It was there where I first discovered the magnificent teaching/ learning paradigm of the Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education. I implemented many aspects of the philosophy in my work at the museum and was fiercely intrigued to study and learn the philosophy first hand. My commitment and relentless spirit eventually moved me to Reggio Emilia where I landed the very rare opportunity to become an informal intern at Raggio di Luce (Ray of Light) atelier at the Loris Malaguzzi Centre in Reggio Emilia, Italy. My time there was too great to not share with the people and community I love in my hometown of Kansas City. I decided to move back to Kansas City to build the school of my dreams, Bambini Creativi. After just 5 years of operation, Bambini Creativi has been the most viewed Reggio Inspired school on Youtube by 165 countries in the world. I currently serve as a Reggio consultant and speaker in Kansas City, the US,  and abroad. I have had magnificent opportunities transforming learning environments and educational projects, raising funds to help create beautiful and intrinsically motivating classrooms for our under-served youth in our local and regional communities, and have had the pleasure of working with schools beyond our borders.

I consider myself principled, compassionate, and full of faith! It is hard not to be when you are fulfilling your vision and dream, and more importantly, when you have an incredible family and community who have shown their support to you every step of the way. Many people ask me how I keep going, and the answer to that is simple, it is my husband and love- Enrico Bongiovanni.  I often joke and say Enrico was a souvenir I picked up when studying in Italy, or that I specialize in Italian imports! The truth is more like, he is a gift in my life that I thank God for, a best friend, and a soulmate that exceeds time and place!

brianneb@bambinicreativi.com

Lindsay Dickerson, Lead Cercatori & Creativi Teacher, Pedagogical Leader & Mentor Teacher Coordinator

The beauty of human nature has always fascinated me. The complexities of the human condition are so involved, and seeing the evolution of these things in young children helps me to understand further what it truly means to be human. My interest in development began by researching my neurology. I am a cancer survivor, 13 years strong- Whoop! Whoop!, and during that time, I have become fascinated with the facets and functions of the brain. That, paired with my love for teaching, led me down a path of supporting the cognitive explorations of children with special rights. I earned my degree from K-State in 2012 in K-12, SPED, and ESL. During my journey at college, I focused on studying strategies, methods, and philosophies that support educating children who experience learning differently. I was also fascinated with helping students who require different inputs to be inspired to discover the world around them.

Throughout my time in college, I worked for the state by serving families with children who have special rights. After I graduated, I moved to KC and began working as a cognitive coach at Brain Balance and later developed brain research-based curricula for children with severe autism. While working there, I was told about Bambini and called that same day. After a long and inspiring conversation with Ms. B, I decided that Bambini was the place that I needed to be, the place where my heart longed to be. I left my job and came to Bambini for an interview. Since there were no jobs available, I began to volunteer and showed up as often as possible. Later that year, I started as a summer camp lead teacher. Now, seven years later, I am still filled with inspiration every single day that I walk through the front door.

Bambini is a sanctuary for children, and I have dedicated my life to serving that purpose. I believe wholeheartedly in our values and mission. I have gained an interest in sharing Bambini Creativi's educational model and strategies with other educators and students who are interested in learning more about our pedagogical practices and the Reggio Approach to early learning. Bambini has embarked on a very exciting journey to become an IB school. IB has enriched our curriculum, culture, and community in ways that are meaningful, powerful, and limitless. IB has been a phenomenal enrichment to what we are already doing and provides amazing opportunities for us to support the international mindedness of our learners and ourselves. It also allows us to continue to increase the academic rigor of our program at the elementary level by providing opportunities for students to gain academic and scientific skills. The scope of relevant concepts deepens the why behind what we learn while increasing the range for acquiring knowledge and skills for future success and inquiry. This year, I will be teaching our upper elementary class and I am beyond honored to be working with our students as we continue our learning journey together.

Bambini is a unique community in which we can all come together with all of our differences. We get to learn from one another and find strength and unity in each other as we grow and learn through life. I am honored and humbled for the opportunity to be apart of this community for yet, another beautiful year!

lindsay.bambinicreativi@gmail.com

Anissa Milburn, Lead Curiosi Teacher (K-1st Grade), Pedagogical Leader & Mentor Teacher

Ciao Amici! I am incredibly honored and grateful to be a part of our Bambini Creativi community for my third year! I cannot wait to see you once again and start this year’s learning adventure! Together, we will hold tight to each other while navigating the world to best support your child in these times! Your child and I will get to learn and develop while discovering, wondering, and unlocking all the curiosities that our world holds. I am excited to begin this unique journey together!

 

I was born and raised in Nebraska and grew up on Husker football! Being one of eight kids, there was never a dull moment at my house. My family became my inspiration for my passion of teaching young children. I attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and received my degree in Early Childhood Education. During my time in college, I fell in love with the Reggio Emilia Approach, because of its emphasis on the child and how each individual child is valued as a competent and capable human being! I also have a strong background in nature education and I continuously incorporate this learning into the classroom. I have been an educator in many diverse settings, such as daycares, church nurseries, early education centers, laboratory schools, and nature preschools with children of all ages. 

 

I moved to Kansas City after hearing about Bambini, seeing the incredible learning environment, and observing the high-quality educational experience given to children. It is a phenomenal school and worth moving to Kansas City for! I have loved every minute of teaching at Bambini and am excited for this new year to begin!

anissa.bambinicreativi@gmail.com

Allison Ronning, Lead Grande Teacher

Hi everyone! I am Ms. Alli and I am excited to be starting my fourth year here at Bambini Creativi! I will be teaching our Grande class this year and I am so excited to see all of you and to get this year started! We have all been through a lot this year, as 2020 has brought challenges that we have never before faced. But I know that I am starting this year with a whole new appreciation for our school and the amazing community that we have here! I am so excited to welcome your students back into our classroom and begin this journey of learning and growing together. Just to tell you a little about myself I have grown up here in KC and am a lover of all Kansas City sports teams, especially Sporting KC! I have been married to Rich for seventeen years and we have three children, Grace, 18, Cole, 16, and Camryn, 14. Our family is experiencing the joy/pain of launching Grace into the world as she started this fall at Iowa State University! The other two are in high school and we are busy with all of their various activities! I am so grateful to Bambini Creativi and this community for all of your trust and support and I know this will be an amazing year because we are all in this together!

allison.r.bambinicreativi@gmail.com

Taylor Robertson, Lead Early Years Teacher (Preschool & Pre-K)

Ciao Bambini Families and Amici! I am beyond excited to start my third official year teaching at Bambini! It all started with a conversation with one of our fellow teachers about Bambini and what an amazing place this was. Leaving me extremely curious, I had to experience this for myself. Once walking in the front door, I decided that this was something special and I wanted to do whatever was needed to be a part of it! I shadowed, volunteered, and was more than eager to learn the ways of the Reggio philosophy. This led me to participate in Bambini's internship through the University of Kansas. From co-leading summer camp and opportunities as a substitute teacher, having a teaching position for my third year is a dream come true and I can't wait to learn, grow, and explore with the Medio class!

 

I was raised in Leawood, Kansas, with a second home in Keystone, Colorado. I was very blessed that my family enjoyed traveling and exploring. From our famous family road trips to our around the world adventures, we were introduced to many different cultures. While attending the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk!), I studied Applied Behavioral Science with a concentration in Early Childhood Autism Intervention.  I have had experience working with children for over 15 years and cherished my time volunteering to work with kids with special rights (needs). Bringing the IB program to Bambini is such a gift, and I feel honored to be a part of it. Extremely excited to practice to "think globally, act locally" with our students. Working hard towards our certification as an International Baccalaureate school this year will be such a rewarding gift to see it all come together! 

 

Homelife consists of my husband, Nick and I enjoying the journey of parenthood with our son, Oren (2 1/2) and our daughter, Nora (18mo). Our house remains busy with four dogs running around, but family time remains precious to us. As a parent, I view my childhood experience with such a different lens. It will be a beautiful time when my kiddos are old enough to join me at Bambini. This place is one to share...it provides an environment and atmosphere for all of us to grow not only personally, but as educators, parents, and a community. However, most importantly, Bambini provides and allows these young minds the freedom to develop creatively and naturally. I am ecstatic to get into the Piccolo classroom and begin our unique journey together! 

taylor.bambinicreativi@gmail.com

Kori Laurisen, Family & Community Relations, Specialist Planning Team Leader & Atelierista

I am really looking forward to working with all of the Amici in the art atelier again this year.  This will be my sixth year teaching at Bambini and I am really excited for another amazing school year.  I can’t wait to reconnect with all of the returning families and I look forward to meeting all of the families new to our Bambini community.  I have always had a love for the arts so I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue working in the art atelier this year.  Exploring the art atelier through the eyes of your Amici is an extremely fulfilling experience, especially with the implementation of our new International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme.  This program is perfect for Bambini and everything our school values.  It is also very exciting to be part of a school that is working towards becoming an internationally recognized school.  

 

Bambini has been a continual blessing for me and my family in so many ways.  We stumbled upon this amazing place over seven years ago and we knew this is where our kids needed to be.  At the time I was struggling with a very strong willed child and immediately began learning about Conscious Discipline.  I continued to educate myself and immerse myself in the school, to better understand the Reggio Emilia teaching philosophy and the power of Conscious Parenting.  I was not only involved in learning about Bambini’s approach, but I contributed in any way that I could.  Since my introduction to Bambini I have transitioned from an involved parent, to a Parent Liaison and now I am excited to begin my sixth year teaching in this very unique learning environment.  I am also extremely excited to continue sharing my own journey, along with my knowledge of Conscious Discipline and the importance of living life consciously, in my monthly Conscious Not Crazy Workshop sessions.  Watching Bambini continue to grow is very exciting and every year I look forward to building new relationships with families and children new to our Bambini community as well as catching up with all of our returning families.  Bambini and everything it stands for has truly become my passion.

 

I am originally from Louisville, KY and my husband Erik is from Omaha, NE.  We moved to Kansas City over 14 years ago.  Since, we have had two children, our son turned 12 this summer and our daughter is 9.  Our son has attended Bambini for the past 7 years and has recently moved on to begin a new chapter in his educational journey, Middle School.  However, our 9 year old daughter will be returning to Bambini for 4th grade this school year.  I feel like Bambini has brought me full circle.  I graduated from the University of Kentucky with an Education degree and I taught right out of college but left education a few years later to pursue a Sales opportunity.  I was in Sales for over 10 years but when I was pregnant with our second child I was part of a huge lay off.  This was the moment I decided to stay home and do the hardest job I have ever done, be a Mom.  I was home with my children for 5 years and now I am enjoying being part of the Bambini Creativi educational team.  I look forward to continuing to learn and share even more about the Reggio teaching philosophy, the IB Programme and Conscious Discipline.  I have always had a love for children and I look forward to spending more time in the magical world of Bambini.  If I am not at Bambini you will most likely find me with my kids at one of their many after school activities or the gym.  I love spending time with my family and friends, doing anything creative and working out.

kori.bambinicreativi@gmail.com

Alessa Arenas, Foreign Language Specialist & Pedagogical Leader

Hola amigos! My name is Alessa Arenas and this will be my second year as the Foreign Language Specialist teaching Spanish to the amici (amigos) at Bambini Creativi. I am originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, where all our family is currently living.

After high school, I spent a year in London living with an Italian family, and that’s when I started loving all things about Italy. I looked after their kids, traveled, went to school, and got my English certificates from Cambridge University.

Then I moved back home and got my Bachelor’s Degree in Design. I also studied Italian, and my idea was to finish at University and start a Masters in Italy or Spain. Instead, I fell in love, got married, and moved to Kansas.

We spent three wonderful years in Kansas! My first son, Santiago, was born here, but we decided to return to Mexico, where my second child, Nicolas, was born. We enjoyed being close to our family and friends, but life was too hectic and the quality of time for our kids was not the ideal. My husband got a new job offer from the same company, and we decided to move back to Kansas for good.

It took us four years to get our green cards, a lot of stories, adventures, learning, and patience included. My visa did not allow me to work, so I spent most of my time assisting teachers in my kid's school in the Shawnee Mission School District.

One of the teachers was the one who sent me to Bambini Creativi! I am thankful to be part of such an amazing team, I learned so much during my first year and I look forward to keep learning, have fun with the amici and teach them a Spanish.

Hasta pronto!

alessa.bambinicreativi@gmail.com

Jamie Savea, Healthy Living Specialist

Ciao, Bambini Families! I am excited to begin my second year at Bambini Creativi, and this year the Healthy Living Specialist. Last year, I was fortunate  to work alongside of Ms. Suzanne, as she taught me many important aspects of Bambini Creativi's food program. She shared her love for international cooking, and how to support students to be better eaters at school.  Although we will miss Ms. Suzanne's presence and passion for food at Bambini Creativi this school year, we sure hope to keep in touch with her throughout the  year to share ideas along the way. 

 

I was raised to be passionate about international flavors and foods! My family happens to be a mixing pot of many cultures that have  brought many native dishes to our table from Italy, Hawaii,  SamoaPhilippines, China, Jamaican, Europe, etc. As the Healthy Living Specialist at Bambini Creativi, I hope to pass my love of international food and cooking on to our amici. This year, I want to focus on foods that our amici love and make Fridays our International theme for trying new foods from around the world. 

 

On a personal level, there are few things that I love beyond cooking. I have three children who range from 21 years to 7 years old. My oldest son, Isaiah, is learning the trade to become a electrician, and aspires to be a KCPD sometime in the near future! My middle son, Xavier, who is 15,  is currently a Sophomore. He keeps our family busy with sports. He is an awesome athlete who plays football, track, basketball, and anything that requires running around! My younger daughter, Noelani, is a 6 year old amici at Bambini Creativi. She is constantly talking about how to make the world a better place, and has been looking for a unicorn for all six years of her existence. Last but not least, I also enjoy time and watching sports with my husband, Manu, and our bulldog, Bossy! 

I look forward to watching your Amici and our Bambini community flourish this school year. 

 

Buon Appetito!

 

jamie.bambinicreativi@gmail.com

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